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Old 11-03-2008, 04:51 AM   #1
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Default Batch sparge question

So say my mash calculator calls for 5 gallons sparge water. I see some people pour the entire thing in after 1st runnings, wait 10 mins, and proceed to vorlauf and they are done. Other people break it up into two, 2.5 gallon sparges.

Is there a difference? Also, isn't lifting 5 gallons of 185F water in a pot a major p.i.t.a.?

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Old 11-03-2008, 05:12 AM   #2
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Yes, it is hard to dump 5 gallons of hot water. I thought it was hard enough with 2.5 gallons.

But, the doing two smaller sparges most definitely does pull out more sugars than one. When you wash something, you're basically equalizing the concentration of the sugars on the grain with your sparge water. The more sugar in your sparge water, the more sugar you're leaving behind on/in the grain. Doing smaller, but more, batch sparges will let you leave behind a less concentrated solution of sugar in the grains.

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Old 11-03-2008, 06:47 AM   #3
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Be a little careful on what you read being gospel. Because brewers use differnt types of mash tuns - tall cylindrical or flatter rectangular - they will adjust their sparging accordingly. They then give advice and newbies get confused.

I have both types of tuns and treat each sparge differently. The malt you use will have some effect too. I agree with the Bigsnake in that I often do 2 equal sizes sparges if it suits my circumstances. However I also occasionally just dump all the water in one go (normal if the score is close or something important like that). As BS says, its what might be left behind that matters. Look at how much preboil liquid you need before you add your sparge water.

Lastly, the only definitative way of assessing the answer is to buy a refractor to read your gravity. Rather than relying on a hydrometer that cannot handle hot fluids, you should invest on a means of checking gravity at all wort temperatures. That way you can tell quickly what the specific gravity of your run off is, You'll be able then to eventually determine in your own mind whether it suits your equipment to sparge all at once or in several goes. You might even see if you can fly sparge using the same equipment.

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Last edited by Fatgodzilla; 11-03-2008 at 06:48 AM. Reason: atrocious spelling
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:02 PM   #4
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There is no equipment variable that I know of that would affect the efficiency increase of reducing batch sparge to smaller incremental infusions. In other words, breaking up a batch sparge into two half infusions will always give you better efficiency than one large infusion and mashtun design has nothing to do with it because grain bed depth is irrelevent in batch sparging. Given a fixed temperature, it's about 4-5% more efficient in my experience which seems consistent with Batch Sparging Analysis - Home Brewing Wiki

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Old 11-03-2008, 01:14 PM   #5
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My experience has been two equal sparges does a better job and it is much easier.

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Old 11-03-2008, 01:20 PM   #6
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two works best here too



and then i do a third one that i boil down for starter worts so the if i extract tannins from over sparging it doesn't matter

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Old 11-03-2008, 02:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eriktlupus View Post
two works best here too



and then i do a third one that i boil down for starter worts so the if i extract tannins from over sparging it doesn't matter
That's a great idea! What gravity do you usually get your third time?

My last starter I had to have used 30 oz of DME. But I brought it up to 2 gallons over a week and had a yeast cake in the carboy the size that I normally see on the bottom of my primary.
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Old 11-03-2008, 02:27 PM   #8
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Thanks guys...invaluable responses as usual.

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Old 11-03-2008, 02:29 PM   #9
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The 4th runnings should be in the 1.010 to 1.015 range and you'd want to boil that down to about 1/4 or 1/3rd the volume or 1.040 for your starter.

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Old 11-03-2008, 02:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
The 4th runnings should be in the 1.010 to 1.015 range and you'd want to boil that down to about 1/4 or 1/3rd the volume or 1.040 for your starter.
Thanks! Going to give that a shot this weekend.
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